/pɔrˈtreɪ, poʊr-/ Show Spelled[pawr-trey, pohr-] –verb (used with object)
1. to make a likeness of by drawing, painting, carving, or the like.
Origin: 1300–50; Middle English portrayen < Middle French portraire < Late Latin prōtrahere to depict, Latin: to draw forth, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + trahere to draw [C14: from Old French portraire to depict, from Latin prōtrahere to drag forth, bring to light, from pro- 1 + trahere to drag]
Continuing down this rabbit-hole of sacred portraiture, seeing our complexities shine through our facial features, and finding the wonderment in this. Even more wondrous is how a mere piece of graphite can translate the message of the soul, via the facial expressions, to paper and eye and then to other souls. Just shadows and light becomes understanding.
I love the feeling described by the phrase “to draw forth” — it’s as if the artist’s hand dips into a pot of luminescence to pull out the shadow and light that makes up the soul of her work. In this stew can be found that exact angle the eye must squint to denote a twinkle; the perfect nuance of lip curvature that creates the truly blissful smile.